Ancient Churches Lexicon Entry:
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In the Golden Age, people were led to do what was just and right by the law written on their hearts (AC 10160). These people of the Most Ancient Church had the law inscribed within them, because they lived in love to the Lord and in love toward to the neighbor. For this reason, whatever their laws dictated was in keeping with their perception, and whatever their laws forbade was contrary to that perception. Furthermore, they knew that all human laws, like Divine laws, are based on love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, and they regarded these as their foundation (AC 1121). For example, the marital law that there must be one man and one woman in a marriage was not merely revealed to the people of the Most Ancient Church, but was inscribed on their internal man. Consequently, the men of those times had only one wife, and the two together formed one house (AC 162).
The laws that existed in the First Ancient Church were passed down to the Second Ancient Church, called the Hebrew Church. These same laws were then transmitted to the Israelitish and Jewish nations (AC 4444). One example of this continuity of law is the duty of the brother-in-law. This law states that if a man died without children, his brother was to marry his widow. Furthermore, his firstborn was to receive his dead brother’s name. This became part of the Mosaic Law, but it was nothing new in the Jewish Church, but rather a practice that was already in existence. The same thing is true for the Israelitish law forbidding marriages with Canaanites and requiring marriage within families (Genesis 24:3, 4; 28:1, 2) (AC 4835). However, over time some laws became adulterated, such as the “sanctification” of the firstborn. In the Ancient Church it was a law that the firstborn was to be “sanctified” to God. This law, however, began to be misunderstood as demanding the actual sacrifice of the firstborn. To prevent this, the law of sanctification of the firstborn was replaced by the law of redemption of the firstborn (AC 8080).
Families, Marriage, Perception, The Word
Passages relating to Law and the Ancient Churches:
AC 162; AC 1121; AC 1011; AC 4444; AC 4456; AC 4835; AC 8080; AC 10160; SE 3253
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